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Delhiwale: From Indore, with love

In the city of sinful snacks, a plate of puffed rice can remind you of home and all its sweet-and-sour delights

delhi Updated: Jul 25, 2017 18:44 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
This spicy puffed-rice snack is a beloved tea-time staple at home, but it hardly qualifies as Delhi’s street food.
This spicy puffed-rice snack is a beloved tea-time staple at home, but it hardly qualifies as Delhi’s street food.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

Kunal Gupta’s poha stall is a rarity.

This spicy puffed-rice snack is a beloved tea-time staple at home, but it hardly qualifies as Delhi’s street food. We are both surprised and thrilled to spot the stall in east Delhi’s Lakshmi Nagar.

The poha is piled up on top of a boiler. Mr Gupta, who earlier worked as a shop assistant in a garments showroom, opened the stall three years ago. He learned to make poha from his mother. In fact, it was her idea to sell this dish and not the usual street food such as momos or chhole-kulche — for “poha is something you don’t find in Delhi, so people will be naturally attracted towards the thela”.

The banner boasts that it is the famous poha from Indore.

We place an order.

Mr Gupta ladles the poha into a paper box, squeezes a lemon over it, dices half a piece of onion, chops a bit of tomato (with scissors) and finally covers it all with fried sev and roasted peanuts — all within a minute. And then, the first spoon of poha. It is like tasting home.